P.M. BRIEFING : Gannett Unit President Named

<i> From Times Staff and Wire Service Reports</i>

Gary Watson will become the president of a newly consolidated newspaper group at Gannett Co. effective Oct. 1, the company said today.

Watson, 45, a 21-year veteran at Gannett, has been president of its 60-member community newspaper division for the last 4 1/2 years. The division will be combined with Gannett’s metropolitan newspaper group, whose current president, Brian J. Donnelly, will become executive vice president reporting to Watson. Watson will oversee all Gannett’s daily papers except USA Today.

The consolidation of the two divisions was believed to be partly in response to the increasingly tough environment for newspaper advertising. Gannett’s newspaper revenue fell 2% in the second quarter compared with a year ago and was down 1% for the first six months of this year.